IMDb > "Columbo" Murder by the Book (1971)
"Columbo: Murder by the Book (#1.1)"
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"Columbo" Murder by the Book (1971)

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Murder by the Book: Season 1: Episode 1 -- US Home Video Trailer from Universal TV


User Rating:
7.6/10   2,204 votes »
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Steven Bochco (written by)
Richard Levinson (created by) ...
View company contact information for Murder by the Book on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
15 September 1971 (Season 1, Episode 1)
When one member of a mystery writing team wants to break from his less talented partner, he becomes the victim in a real-life murder mystery. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
(4 articles)
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Hotel Builder Sues Sinatra + Falk
 (From WENN. 13 August 2008, 8:58 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Simple but great See more (30 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Jack Cassidy ... Ken Franklin

Rosemary Forsyth ... Joanna Ferris

Martin Milner ... Jim Ferris

Barbara Colby ... Lilly La Sanka
Lynette Mettey ... Gloria Jr. (as Lynnette Mettey)
Bernie Kuby ... Mike Tucker

Hoke Howell ... Sergeant

Marcia Wallace ... Woman (credit only)
Haven Earle Haley ... 2nd Reporter
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leon Alton ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Frank Baker ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)

Anitra Ford ... Woman at Theater (uncredited)
Bobby Gilbert ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
George Golden ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Paul King ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Joseph La Cava ... Medical Examiner (uncredited)
Ethelreda Leopold ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Leoda Richards ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Mark Russell ... Police Sgt. (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Steven Spielberg 
Writing credits
Steven Bochco (written by)

Richard Levinson (created by) &
William Link (created by)

Produced by
Richard Levinson .... producer
William Link .... producer
Robert F. O'Neill .... associate producer
Original Music by
Billy Goldenberg 
Cinematography by
Russell Metty (director of photography) (as Russell L. Metty)
Film Editing by
John Kaufman  (as John Kaufman Jr.)
Art Direction by
Archie J. Bacon  (as Arch Bacon)
Set Decoration by
Richard Friedman 
Production Management
Henry Kline .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ralph Ferrin .... assistant director
Sound Department
David H. Moriarty .... sound
Hubie Kerns Jr. .... stunts (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Burton Miller .... costumes
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Steve Johnson .... colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Henry Mancini .... composer: theme
James D. Young .... music editor (uncredited)
Other crew
Steven Bochco .... story editor
Attila De Lado .... main title design (as Attila de Lado)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
76 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG (video rating) | Denmark:11 (2004) | Finland:K-7 (2004) | Norway:15 (2004) | Sweden:15 (2004) | UK:PG (video rating) (2000)

Did You Know?

Although Billy Goldenberg scored the opening Columbo stories in 1971, his commercially released "Columbo Theme" recorded as such by Norrie Paramor and His Orchestra (Law Beat album, Contour Records 2870 369) did not become a regular feature of the show. The theme is first heard during the helicopter sequence of pilot "Ransom for a Dead Man" but Goldenberg did not use it as a title theme and composed mainly fresh music for "Murder by the Book" and all his subsequent scores. The Columbo show never had any recognizable theme tune of its own.See more »
Continuity: Lilly La Sanka dips strawberries in sugar and eats them, while talking to Ken Franklin. In a shot looking toward Franklin, we see that Lilly is holding an entire strawberry, still coated with sugar at the tip. A moment later (and also in the previous shot), before she can take a bite, we see that Lilly's strawberry is half-devoured.See more »
[first lines]
[Jim works in his office]
Jim Ferris:[knock on the door] Who is it?
[another knock on the door]
Jim Ferris:[He opens the door - Ken is aiming a gun at his face. Jim laughs]
Ken Franklin:Oh, you're not intimidated.
Jim Ferris:Oh, come on, Ken. You're forgetting that I'm one-half of the world's greatest mystery-writing team? You, ah, don't have gloves on, your finger's not on the trigger, and there are no bullets in the cylinder.
Ken Franklin:[smiling] You're right. I'm a lousy practical joker.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Love Theme from 'Red Sky At Morning'See more »


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Simple but great, 11 March 2014
Author: zmartever from United States

Jack Cassidy plays the bad guy with oily charm and arrogance. The plot centers around Cassidy as a talentless member of a writing team whose other member wants to call it quits. Cassidy has other ideas, killing his partner for greed and a "not too bright" spinster who knows more than what's good for her trying to blackmail him. Columbo (the superb Peter Falk) is on to him from minute one. Enjoyed watching Columbo's "cooking skills"....and Columbo annoying his suspect. There are better episodes but this one doesn't disappoint. Cassidy always makes for a nice adversary with his superior attitude and superficial charm. The scenes where he sweet talks the blackmailing woman show his phoniness and creepiness to the fullest. Its a joy watching Columbo throw a wrench in the works.

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